When it comes to lifting weights, different opinions, techniques and training styles are often shared around the weights floor. But there’s no denying that how you lift is just as important as how much you lift. In other words, don’t sacrifice technique for load.
Good weightlifting technique is like learning to ride a bike – once you’ve got it, you’ll never forget it. So here are some tips to get you started:
CHECK YOUR EGO
Sometimes the heaviest lift at the gym is lifting your ego! It might seem like the thing to do, but when you load up the weight, you’re putting your body through strenuous activity. Add incorrect technique and the risk of injury is significantly increased.
Time and time again I’ve seen people going through expensive and intensive rehabilitation from injuries caused by simple errors to posture and form when lifting weights. These not only cause pain and suffering in the short term, but could jeopardise your health and well being into the future.
While ‘lifting more’ might feel like the right goal to aim for, good technique is part of muscle development which is vital for fat loss, so it’s important to recognise that you cannot properly reach one without the other.
LEARN THE ROPES
The best way to learn proper technique is to work with a professional to show you the ropes. A personal trainer’s number one priority is your safety. They are there to make sure injury doesn’t waste all of your hard work and dedication.
If a personal trainer is not an option for you, some group classes in the gym are great for learning basic movements and technique.
PRACTICE IN THE MIRROR
There is a good reason for all those mirrors in the gym. Set yourself up in front of the mirror and watch your posture as you exercise – at least until you get used to the right movements. As you learn, watch out for adjustments like holding your chest proud, activating your core or keeping your spine in neutral alignment.
GET MOVING AT WORK
We’ve heard countless times the damage caused from living a sedentary lifestyle, and poor posture is just another addition to the list of health concerns related to long periods of sitting.
Office workers will often bring their poor posture with them to the gym, such as poor back and shoulder alignment caused by tightness in the chest muscles (sitting over a computer). In the gym, movements like bench pressing will place even more strain on the back and shoulders as the chest muscles are further tightened. That’s why it’s important to incorporate a good mix of pushing and pulling movements in your routine and be sure to stretch often.
To prevent bad habits, avoid long periods of sitting by going for a short walk every 2-3 hours. Set up your desk in a way that will encourage good posture – sitting on a Swiss ball may be an option, so long as you’re sitting up straight! Also be sure to incorporate exercises in your workouts that have a high emphasis on back and core to improve your strength in these areas.
Bottom line? Good posture and good technique are signs of longevity – it will reduce your risk of developing chronic pain as you age and support muscle growth. It may be frustrating to get it right, but it’s an absolute must.
ARE YOU PRACTICING YOUR WEIGHTLIFTING TECHNIQUE?